HOUSTON – The man accused of shooting a Harris County deputy in the back Tuesday night was free from jail on multiple bonds at the time of the shooting, according to court records.
Investigators said 37-year-old Moises Martinez fired shots at two deputies who had responded to reports of a suspicious person. Some of those shots hit Deputy Brandon Barrigan in the back, face and hand. Investigators said Martinez fled but was arrested after an hourslong manhunt.
“Sadly it’s par for the course for what we’re seeing, in what I’m calling the ‘bond pandemic,’” said Houston Crime Stoppers victim’s advocate Andy Kahan. “This is just a daily occurrence.”
Martinez has a rap sheet that includes violent crimes such as accusations of robbing his mother and two counts of criminal mischief last October. All of the charges are felonies. He also has convictions for assault, burglary, theft and firearm possession.
The county prosecutor asked that Martinez be held without bond, but that request was denied by 263rd District Court Judge Amy Martin, who granted a low bond and allowed Martinez to go free after posting a $1,750 bail. He was later declared a fugitive after violating the terms of his bail agreement.
Martin denied KPRC 2′s request for an interview about this story.
Harris County Deputy Association President David Cuervas said that problem of violent career criminals who re-offend after being granted multiple felony bonds has become epidemic in Harris County.
“These rogue judges have made Harris County a sanctuary county for felons and criminals,” Cuervas said. “They absolutely don’t give a damn about anyone or any citizen in Harris County.”
It’s a problem so acute, the legislature is considering action. State Sen. Paul Bettencourt is crafting a bill to stop judges from stacking multiple felony bonds for violent offenders who are continually arrested and released.
“America is the land of second chances, but that doesn’t mean you get a third, fourth or fifth chance to then go out and do some serious offense like shooting a deputy sheriff or killing a citizen in Harris County,” Bettencourt said. “That has to be stopped.”
Bettencourt said he expects other bills aimed at solving the problem to be introduced during the current session.
Wednesday, Martinez was granted a new, much-higher bond, totaling more than $500,000 on two counts of aggravated assault of a public servant and felon in possession of a firearm.